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  Spa Buyers Guide - What to Look For - Framing - The Fun Stuff

Spa Buyers Guide Continued - What to Look For

Not all spas are created equal and every manufacturer approaches spas in a different way. However, experience has taught us that there is a better way. Here is what to look for.

  1. Efficiency relates to how much the spa will cost in monthly electricity bills. Insulation value contributes heavily to how much the spa will cost to operate. It is always best to buy a spa that is fully insulated. A fully insulated spa is filled from wall to wall with a 2lbs. density foam insulation. This type of insulation will help maintain water temperature thus lower your heating costs. This saves money. Examples of leading manufacturers that fully insulate are as follows:

    1. Marquis Spas
    2. Sundance Spas
    3. Caldera Spas
    4. Dimension One Spas
    5. HotSpring Spas, the number one manufacturer of spas, goes a step further by filling the spa cavity with up to a 60lbs. density insulation. This type of insulation is up to 30times denser than the others and as such, will result in the lowest operating cost.

  2. Another variable in the monthly cost of operating a spa is in the filtration and circulation of the spa water. There are two ways to do this. The traditional way of filtering spa water is to use the large therapy pump, which operates the jets. By installing filters onto the inlet of the jet pump, the water passing thru the system is filtered. For every spa motor, there are two intakes. Most manufactures place a single filter on one of the two intakes leaving the other to pull water in freely without filtration. The average spa motor uses approximately 400-500watts of electricity per hour of operation while in filtration mode. In essence, for 12hrs of filtration per day at a rate of $0.07/kwHr, you would be spending $0.38 per day or $11.40 per month just to filter the water in your spa. In addition to the cost of operation, you may also want to note that while the spa motor is operating in filtration mode, a noticeable hum would be heard for 12 hours a day (or night).

    The other option is one that most leading manufacturers use in the construction of their spas. It is called the 24 silent circulation system. It utilizes a small ultra-quiet circulation pump, which runs the filtration 24 hours per day. The circulation pump also uses less than 75 watts of electricity per hour of use resulting in a monthly operating cost of less than $4.05. The end result is twice the filtration time at almost 65% less cost of operation, while maintaining the silence you desire. A few leading manufacturers that use silent 24 hour circulation systems are as follows:

    1. Sundance Spas
    2. Caldera Spas
    3. Dimension One Spas
    4. L. A. Spas
    5. HotSpring Spas innovated the use of the 24hour silent circulation pump in spas nearly 16 years ago. They have also taken it a step further by being the only manufacturer to tie the 24hour filtration system to what is called, "100% no by-pass filtration". This is achieved by placing a high-capacity filter over every intake within their spas (some models containing up to five filters). The benefit is ensuring that no water bypasses the filters and every drop of water must be cleaned before coming in contact with your spa equipment and returning through the jets. This will save you money in replacement parts in the future.

  3. How difficult your spa water will be to maintain is the result of both the spas ability to filter water effectively, as well as the water purification system that you incorporate. Over the course of the last 15 years, spa manufactures have shifted away from the traditional bromine and chlorine systems and, instead, choose ozone for water sanitization. Ozone is nature's strongest natural disinfectant that can be safely used and is created in spas most commonly in two ways.

    1. UV Ozone generators:
      A UV Ozone generator uses a Ultra-violet bulb to break down oxygen molecules and recombine them into ozone molecules. These UV bulbs have an estimated lifespan of 12-18months and only operate at full intensity for the first 1,000 hours of operation.

    2. Corona Discharge generators:
      A corona discharge ozone generator uses an electrode to create arcs of electricity, which split oxygen molecules in half and recombine them as an ozone molecule. High output corona discharge ozone system puts out significantly more ozone than the UV style and is much more consistent in doing so. Unlike UV, Corona Discharge does not lesson in output as severely and will sanitize your spa water more effectively.

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